Uyinene Mrwetyana

Good evening everyone,

Our blog has missed the creative series. At least I know I have. This will also be the first public awareness post of many.

Today is December 5th, and thus the 10th of 16 days of international activism concerning the elimination of violence against women.

To commemorate the life of Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19 year old student murdered in a violent act of femicide in September 2019, please find below a spoken-word piece written by Nadia Kalinga, a Kenyan student at the African Leadership Academy and a member of AfroFem, a student enterprise. Femicide is defined by the World Health Organization as the “intentional murder of women because they are women, but broader definitions include any killings of women or girls”.

It is particularly concerning as she was murdered 150 m away from the police station.

As young leaders on the African continent, it is important that we are continuously aware, never silent, and always uncomfortable with the injustice on the continent. The language of growth is our discomfort.


It is not a story you can put down when you are tired

It is not a page you can turn when you don’t like the news

It is the salt to a gaping wound and we must feel it’s burn, or it’s fester

It should be a pinch of discomfort when the news dies down and the Instagram stories and tweets no longer circulate.

left in the wake are the tears of a mother

A mother broken down for her preparation could never be adequate

It is not a story it’s someone’s reality, a horror

A frustrating piece of victim blaming because the question ‘why was she?’ instead of ‘why did he?’ holds up better in court

When the question of what she was wearing is still asked and treated as a determining factor

When the cries of women asking for a change fall on deaf ears because these are the same cries they’ve listened to, despite, all along

It is not a topic that can lose momentum, because we place numbers instead of names to these cases and a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa

When a confession is seen as a heroic act for ‘putting aside your pride’ and showing yourself as vulnerable

When the perpetrators are so secure in their actions that they have the audacity to commit their crimes 150 meters from the police station

And the government has their names on a registry yet does nothing

When the question “why do you feel the need to add ‘fem’ to everything when we’re all getting killed” is deemed as acceptable to ask

Through the pit stops of rationale and common sense before the final destination of the tongue

When asking ‘Am I next?’ is not far fetched

And I’ve been taught for over a decade to never go to the bathroom alone, to never let my sister out of sight, to never walk alone once the sun has set, to pretend I don’t hear when someone makes a remark about MY body, to keep walking, and most recently not to go to the post office alone

You see, it seems like my existence is provocation

… but still, more twitter characters have been dedicated to arguing out why men aren’t trash , and ‘not all men’ instead of the fact that there is a need for a constant rail of protection up when it comes to how I live my life; more training is poured into what I can do

but what CAN be done when despite all of this , I. Still . Fear

When pink ladies post a missing person case at the frequency they do,

We cannot stop the conversation

We cannot fail to look this beast in the eye and say enough

We cannot let the matter expire as soon as our stories do

We cannot continue to excuse this behavior and hide friends

We cannot fail to be accountable.

it is not a story you can put down when you are tired

It is not a page you can turn when you don’t like the news

It is the salt to a gaping wound and we must feel it’s burn, or it’s fester.

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